International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building for Management

Over the past ten years, an increasing awareness of the importance of coral reefs has been evident, especially in light of their rapid decline in many regions and their significance to developing countries. However, what remains fundamentally unknown about these ecosystems is alarming, especially when management interventions are becoming increasingly important. The Coral Reef Targeted Research for Capacity Building and Management Program (CRTR) was created to fill critical information gaps for coral reef ecosystems in 4 major regions (Eastern Africa, Mesoamerica, the Philippines, and Australasia) and to link the findings to strengthen management actions and policy. The program is envisioned over a three-phase, 15 year period and involves a network of over 70 international scientists representing more than 40 institutions worldwide. The project has established a global network of eminent coral reef scientists working together across disciplines and regions so that: Key knowledge gaps can be systematically addressed to reduce uncertainty in the context of management, 2. Targeted research is multidisciplinary, drawing on a blend of biophysical and social sciences, 3. The research is integrated across space and time to allow for a synoptic view of coral reef ecosystem processes and dynamics in response to stress at local, regional and global scales, and 4. Research findings are effectively communicated to decision-makers. In addressing the issues confronting the decline of coral reefs worldwide, the CRTR Project seeks to coordinate and target research among a broad range of participants for the first time in the global community’s history. The program integrates scientific information, collaborative research, training and capacity building for young scientists and managers from developing countries. Targeted research is being conducted at sites in each region and in association with established marine laboratories at four operational centers, (or "Centers of Excellence") located in Zanzibar, Tanzania; Puerto Morelos, Mexico; Bolinao, Philippines; and Heron Island, Australia. Satellite study sites are also located in Belize and Palau. The CRTR network is using training models to share methods, tools and techniques, to collaboratively target research in each of the regions, and to enhance scientific capacity and management within the regions. The first phases' five-year work programs have been approved for each of the six thematic working groups that were defined during the scoping phase of the project and in consultation with managers and scientists. They are: Coral Bleaching and local ecological factors Coral Disease Coral Reef Connectivity Coral Reef Restoration and Remediation Remote Sensing and Modeling and Decision Support The trigger for the Project was concern about climate change and unprecedented sea temperature increases and their effects on the health of the world’s coral reefs, but to understand the multiple factors and the potential synergistic effect on natural resource function and services. The Project is a high priority global initiative that will accelerate and refine a global response to understanding environmental impacts and crises and how to better manage them.

Portfolio Learning/Policy

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Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 1531
IBRD ID 78034
Project type Full-Size Project
Status closed (Project Closure)
Start Date 23 Sep 2004
End Date 30 May 2010
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area International Waters
GEF Allocation to project USD 11,000,000
Total Cost of the project: USD 28,085,500

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (WB)

Project contacts
Andy Hooten Consultant
Melanie King Deputy Director
Mark Paterson Team Leader
Marea E. Hatziolos Senior Coastal and Marine Specialist